Sunday, March 29, 2009

Fun in the Sun (and Snow)

With weather in the upper 40's this afternoon, we spent some time outside enjoying the melting snow.

We had enough snow for a mini snowman.

We pulled out a new bubble toy. Seemed kind of strange with snow on the ground, but he enjoyed it.

And, of course, we had lots of snow ball fights.
Now, I'm ready for spring weather again.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Snow update's not quite what they called for, but it's significant for the end of March. We got about 2 inches of sleet covered by about 4-5 inches of snow. Because of 34 mile-an-hour winds, we have been enjoying it from inside the house. Happy Spring, everyone!

Friday, March 27, 2009


Tyler, while playing his V-Smile, and feeling quite proud of himself,

"Yeah, Dawg!"

That's a new one from him. Goof! :)


I've been slightly distracted this week, thinking about all of the little projects I'd like to get done around the house. Most of these Wayne will tackle because, really, in our house that's who has the know-how, patience and attention to detail that I just don't have. But, WAIT, my garage door broke on Thursday morning. That was not what I had in mind to work on next. But I guess it's on top of the list now, just in time for a spring storm.

I woke up this morning to the sprinklers running - which I knew was not necessary with the kind of weather we were predicted to have today. I ran downstairs and turned them off, then covered the back-flow valve in a small attempt at preventing it from bursting. I came home and Wayne had added another blanket and a light to warm it up. :) Then we added a plastic sheet. It is just such great timing that we finally started watering this week...and now we have a "blizzard" coming. Ha!

So far today we've had lots of sleet and hail (which hurt when it pelted your face). It just now turned to snow. (They're predicting something like a foot or two of snow- but our meteorologists generally exaggerate, so we'll see what actually happens). This pretty much means we will enjoy cozying up at home pretending it's too yucky outside to work too hard. And watching the Jayhawks play tonight. :)

Here's a view from our front door just now.

And Tyler playing his V-Smile with socks on his hands because he's too stubborn to wear a warmer shirt or socks (on his feet). Silly boy!

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Raspberry Cream Cheese Coffee Cake

This morning was a busy one. I was responsible for the children's story (based on Numbers 21:4-9). If you look it up, you might appreciate how much fun it was to turn that into a children's story. :) I played during the children's singing, which really isn't a big deal. And, finally, I brought snacks for our group during the Sunday School hour. Since several people requested the recipe, I thought I'd share it here for anyone else who may want to try it. Sorry, no pictures, but it did look pretty.

Raspberry Cream Cheese Coffee Cake
- from Women of Great Taste (Wichita Junior League)
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup granulated sugar, divided
3/4 cup butter or margarine, softened
3/4 cup sour cream
2 eggs
1 teaspoon almond extract
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup raspberry preserves
1/2 cup sliced almonds

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour bottom and sides of a 10-inch springform pan. In a large bowl, combine flour and 3/4 cup sugar. Use a pastry blender or fork to cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Reserve 1 cup for topping. Combine remaining crumb mixture with sour cream, 1 egg, almond extract, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Spread dough over bottom and 2 inches up the sides of prepared pan. Beat cream cheese, 1/4 cup sugar and 1 egg until blended. Spread over dough. Spoon preserves evenly over cheese filling. Combine reserved crumb mixture and almonds and sprinkle over top. Bake until cheese filling is set and crust is a deep golden brown, 45 t0 55 minutes. Cool for 15 minutes, remove sides of pan and cut cake into wedges.

Serves 10-12

piles of dirt

There are probably countless things that I did not adequately appreciate as I was growing up. One thing that I took for granted was a place to throw out scraps, weeds, and burn things as needed. Living in town, in such close proximity to neighbors, has especially increased my appreciation for such luxuries. Whenever I work outside, I find myself wishing for the woods or burn pile to dispose of the rose clippings, weeds, etc.

When we moved into our house five years ago, we made some changes to the landscaping. We started a pile of dirt and rose clippings. Five years later, and after digging out several additional flower beds, this little pile really grew and a pile had also been started under the deck. As with many things, I could put it out of my mind until one day, I had had enough. I was done with the dirt pile.

I ran into some road blocks with finding a way to haul the dirt off, and didn't really expect to get rid of it any time soon. Much more quickly than I ever expected, yesterday afternoon, Pat called to say that they were going to borrow a truck. He offered to help haul out our dirt, and even offered to take it to their duplex to dispose of it. (I had expected to have to pay the dump fee).

Woo Hoo!!! I'm quite happy. Though the spots left by the dirt piles are going to need some work, it feels liberating to have them essentially gone!!! Hooray for friends and a husband who helped to get this taken care of!

No photos were taken because Wayne firmly refused. Sorry that you couldn't see all of us windblown, dirty and sweaty. Ha!

Saturday, March 21, 2009

haircut protest

Just now, while protesting getting a haircut,

"getting a haircut is my worst fing in dis famuwee."

(Getting a haircut is my worst thing in this family).

Drama, anyone? :)

Trip to the park

We've had some nice enough days to be outside nearly every day this week. Only on Thursday's trip to the park did I remember to bring my camera. I thought I'd catch some nice pictures of Tyler playing outside. While he was finishing his drink in the car, I got out the camera. He thought it was great fun to make lots of different silly faces, of course none of which was a sweet smile.

I'm not sure what's going on with his hands-free drinking.

The one time he was posing to take a "nice" picture for me. He looks so into it, doesn't he? :)

Hiding from Mommy (and the camera).

Silly zombie.

moving things around

I rearranged the kitchen appliances a couple of days ago. The microwave's new spot, in particular, appears to be bothering Tyler. This morning, in an irritated voice, he asked me "when are you going to move things back to normal?" I explained that I was going to leave things the way they are. He thought a minute, then threatened, "if you move it back to normal, then I'm going to play with you today. If you don't, then I won't play with you."

Ha ha ha. Somehow, I'm not worried.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Happy First Day of Spring

We had a gathering this evening to celebrate the first day of Spring. Well, actually, we just wanted to have friends over before the end of Spring Break, so it was a good excuse. Unfortunately, we didn't take any pictures. But, we did have a good time.

We made waffles with lots of toppings. Our toppings included sausage gravy, hot peaches/sauce, peanut butter, yogurt, strawberries, whipped cream, and of course butter and syrup. (Thanks, Mom and Dad for our New Year tradition - I thought fondly of home while I was preparing and eating our meal). It was also a good excuse to buy a new Cuisinart waffle maker. The one we got for our wedding has long ago stopped working. To go with our waffles, our friends brought egg casserole, fruit, and mimosas. Yum! Breakfast for supper is always welcome!

And we followed supper by chatting and playing Catch Phrase. A game that I really enjoy, but always reminds me that I need to go back to school and re-learn a lot of history and geography!

The waffle recipe I used is a recipe passed down by my paternal grandmother, Laura (Wagler) Miller. And, it's the waffle recipe my mother has always made. It's simple and uses ingredients I (should always) have on hand.


1 3/4 cup flour
1 Tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 3/4 cup milk
1/2 cup oil
2 egg yolks
2 beaten egg whites (beaten to stiff peaks)

Mix in order given. (Dry ingredients, then add wet ingredients). I added a little vanilla extract - probably 1 teaspoon. Last fold in beaten egg whites.
Makes about 10 1/2-cup waffles

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

curvy thinking

"Jimmy Neutron doesn't think straight...he thinks cuuuurvy."

Monday, March 16, 2009


Spring Break has begun! Today felt like the first day of my Spring Break, since it was the first weekday without work. But, really, we began celebrating on Friday.

Friday evening, Ted and Sue came down for an "s" supper. It was not intentionally an "s" supper, but after we planned our menu, I realized that it was. We served (lemon) scallops, spring rolls, (Asian) salad, and (mango) sorbet. Ted also worked on our taxes while he was here. As in years past, while I handed over documents and figures, I was all knots inside. Last year, as I watched Ted thoughtfully working, I panicked and sliced through my finger with a knife. This year, the meal prep was completed before we started working on taxes. Not a bad idea - no knives were around while I was fretting. Of course, in the end, everything was fine and I'm glad that's all figured out! Thanks, Ted! At the end of the evening, we sent Tyler off with Ted and Sue for the weekend.

Saturday morning, bright and early (okay - early, and still dark) we headed Lawrence, Kansas to join our friends Matt & Michelle, Pat & Lisa and Mark & Patty, who had arrived the night before. (We didn't want to miss any of the time together on Saturday). There was nothing to fear. Most of our friends hadn't left their hotel rooms yet. We enjoyed a day of shopping and a couple of really great meals. In the evening, we went to see The Reader. Going to this particular theater was an interesting experience in itself. There were only two movies showing, with homemade signs pointing you to through the winding hallways and stairs to where to find your theater. They played some interesting (okay, almost creepy) music while we waited for our one preview then the movie to start.

On Sunday, we had a lazy morning and a nice lunch before heading back home. We picked up Tyler, and got to hear all about his exciting adventures with Grandpa and Grandma. We were all wiped out by the time we got home, but we did enjoy ourselves!

The view from the back of our hotel.

Pat and Patty perusing the menu at our Saturday lunch stop, Zen Zero. I had Tom Kha Gai with rice - yum!! (And thought of Lynette since she introduced it to me).

Monday, March 9, 2009

Beef Stew

We've had a few days of beautiful spring weather. Of course, these have also happened to be the days that I haven't felt well. On Friday, Wayne took Tyler to the park.

Today was a dreary, yet warm day. This evening, the rain really poured. As we enjoyed listening to the rain, I was kind of bummed thinking about the forecast for cooler days this week. And, I was reminded of a recipe I've been meaning to share. Last weekend, we made a simple beef stew. We started with the Absent Cook Stew and an Irish beef stew and made our own adaptation. Of course, we adjusted seasonings at the end, and you'd want to do that too. We served it over mashed potatoes. Add a green salad and some dinner rolls and you're set.

Beef Stew

2 lbs stewing beef, cubed
1 large onion, chopped
3 carrots, sliced
3 ribs celery, sliced
10 ¾ oz can tomato soup
3 bay leaves
¾ cup Guinness stout
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp dried rosemary
1 tsp dried parsley
salt and pepper to taste
Either add a thickener (flour or cornstarch/water) or 3 large potatoes, chopped.

Combine ingredients in a slow cooker. Cook on low for 10-12 hours.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

building up an appetite

Today, while putting away his Go Fish cards,
"all of this stuffing is making me hungry."

Saturday, March 7, 2009

public apology

I have been knocked out the last few days by a flu or bacterial infection. (Doctor wasn't sure which, more likely a bacterial infection). It started Wednesday, I made it through half of the workday Thursday, then spent most of Thursday afternoon and Friday in bed. This morning, I woke up being able to speak with less pain, without a fever (I think) and a little more energy. But, still not back to normal.

I realized that I didn't know whether our library books were due. So, after working up some strength, I threw some shoes on, and Tyler and I headed out. I was wearing over-sized pistachio green sweatpants and a brown shirt. Tyler, who dressed himself this morning and still had bed head, had picked a navy blue striped shirt and black sweat pants. I caught a glimpse of us in the library window and thought - yikes, how embarrassing!! So, to increase our chances of embarrassment, we headed to McDonald's to pick out a movie for family movie night tonight (so I can lay around some more) and get lunch for Tyler. So, here is my public apology. If you had to see us this morning, I am sorry! I hide my head in shame.

I must admit, I let Tyler pick out his outfit. My rationale was that, first, I didn't have the energy to protest. And second, I enjoyed listening to his method of deciding which clothes to wear. He pulled out two shirts, laid them on his bed and announced that "these are my two options. I have to look at them to decide which one is prettier." He had pulled out blue sweatpants, which would have been slightly better, but he realized they were a little too long. So, logically, he went after those black ones. As for me, I can't even come up with an excuse other than, I am just too tired to care. Oh well! :) We're happily home...where I think I'll fall back into bed.